If you’ve had problems logging into your online bank accounts recently, you’re not alone.
PNC Bank sent an email to customers like me earlier this month, outlining why we’re having trouble logging online.
According to the letter, “a number of banks in the U.S., including PNC, are seeing an unusually high volume of traffic at their Internet connections. This volume of traffic is consistent with threatened cyber attacks on the U.S. banking system and is designed to cause access delays for legitimate Internet customers.”
PNC doesn’t name the other banks, but they include the nation’s biggest institutions, including Bank of America, Chase and Citigroup.
Our readers who bank with Discover Bank, USAA and Fifth Third have also reported problems.
The New York Times reports this attack represents a second wave of attacks in three months from the same group of hackers.
From the story:
“The group said it had attacked the banks in retaliation for an anti-Islam video that mocked the Prophet Muhammad and pledged to continue its campaign until the video was removed from the Internet.”
So-called denial of service attacks send massive amounts of traffic to a website in an effort to overwhelm the site’s servers and make it difficult for legitimate users to gain access.
For PNC customers affected, the bank recommends you keep trying to log on. Our reader with USAA got into her account by logging in from another computer.
If you have crucial banking business you need to do, either call or visit a branch if your bank has brick-and-mortar locations.
Make sure you won’t be charged, because some banks will ding you with a fee for trying to talk to a live person. Get the promise in writing or, if on the phone, the name of the person you’re talking to.
The good news is that these attacks seem designed to cause headaches rather than to steal information or money.